I have decided to resume the blog. I didn’t get far last time and never even caught up with the months that I had missed. So I will give a very brief overview of some of the key races I have run in the last 9 months.
Newport Half Marathon – 1:22:53
My first half marathon, and a really enjoyable experience despite the strong winds and unexpected undulating course. It turned out the course was measured short and so I felt the need to set an actual half marthon time the following week in Llanelli.
Llanelli Half Marathon – 1:21:29
Again, awful winds, and rain thrown in this time. Felt like a battle and really dug in to prove that Newport was no fluke. Very happy to beat the previous week’s time on tired legs from the previous week’s race and a grueling 11-a-side football match the day before.
Marina 5K – 17:18
First 5K, and happy with my run. Finished strongly and had plenty left in the tank.
Welsh Road Relay Championships 5.4K – 18:54
I joined Swansea Harriers TNT’s in the aftermath of running my first half marathons. The club was amazing. Really welcoming, helpful, and the sessions were great. I was finally doing intervals and efforts rather than just going for a run. The group were (and are) really friendly, and I knew training with them on Tuesdays and Thursdays would bring improvements in my performance.
I was drafted in to a road relay race, and eagerly joined the club and bought a vest. The race was in Pontypridd, and I wasn’t really sure of the format. On arrival it turned out there was the elite Swansea Harriers making up the A and B team, and that I would compete in an incomplete C team. I was fine with this, as it was a great experience running in a different type of race.
In April I started to train with the faster Swansea Harriers group. Initially I really struggled to keep up during reps, but as the reps were short I wouldn’t fall too far behind. It would normally just mean a slightly shorter recovery before smashing out another 300m rep (or similar). My training was still inconsistent though, and I struggled to train on Tuesdays on the track and then follow this with football training immediately afterwards.
Cardiff Bay 5 Mile – 28:55
Enjoyable race but just couldn’t keep up with a decent group to run with.
Run4All 5K – 17:09
Happy to improve my 5K PB and edge closer to the sub 17 mark.
Whitford Point 5.9M – 36:57
Started fast and completely faded in this multi terrain race.
Beast of Bryn 6.8M – 45:06
Started fast again. Two races occur at the same time and I thought I was in 2nd for my shorter distance, but some of the runners from the longer race dropped down in distance and left me gutted to cross the line in 4th. Really tough, long climb up the hill, but enjoyable fast descent.
Run4All 5K – 17:30
Really disappointed to be getting slower at this distance.
Swansea Half Marathon – 79:44
See Swansea Half Marathon post.
Wales 10K, Tenby – 34:27
This race was on my birthday, and probably deserves it’s own post. I decided that a great way to spend my birthday was to run a race. Vicki and I traveled to Tenby in the morning to register and watch as the marathon set off. The 10k was a small part of a much bigger weekend event – The Long Course Weekend (LCW). The LCW was an Ironman split in to 3 days. The marathon was the final leg for a number of participants and there were crowds of people supporting them. A half marathon and 10K was also being hosted to attract a larger field. I was still yet to run a 10K since I started running, and so I wanted to see what sort of time I could achieve. However, the course was very tough. It was all hills. The rain cleared away, and it was hot and sunny for my 10K. I looked around at the start line and saw a number of better looking runners. When the race started I just legged it. It was an uphill start and I set off at a crazy pace, dropping everyone. I used this technique throughout the 6 miles, attacking the uphills and recovering on the downhills. The slower marathon runners were on the same route and I had to weave past hundreds of people on my way back to Tenby. I dug deep and was able to come down the red carpet in first. I was ecstatic. My first win, and on my birthday. Vicki was waiting at the finish, surprised and delighted that I had won. It was a great feeling that I will never forget. It put the disaster of Swansea Half Marathon behind me, and gave me the impetus to push on in training.
Some consistent training under my belt through July and August left me feeling great coming in to ‘race season’.
Cardiff 10K – 33:16
Finally a flat 10K to have a go at. Great conditions on the day and I was feeling confident. I set a big PB, and basically just followed the Welsh legend Martin Rees for the second half of the race, before a big sprint finish. At the time I was really disappointed with my time. I felt so good in training and wanted to see much bigger improvement than this. On reflection though this was a good stepping stone, and remains my 10K PB.
Great North Run – 74:19
Based on my Cardiff time I was looking to run sub 75 and qualify for a Championship place at London. I was hoping to cruise under 75 easily, this was not the case. A 5:05 minute first mile was way too quick, and I ran the first 5k in a PB time. The hot weather and undulations started to take their toll, and I struggled in the second half. Again, I beat myself up about the time but then realised that I had taken over 5 minutes off my PB and qualified for London – huge achievement really. I then found out that I had finished 48th. Top 50, amazing.
Swansea 10K – 33:54
My first West Wales vest. Really happy to be representing my region. Really proud and surprised. The race seemed easy as Richard Copp and I cruised down to half way, but I was never able to pick up the pace in the second half as I had planned, and I jogged in just under 34. Disappointing performance, but on very weary legs.
Cardiff Half Marathon – 75:06
Really upset with my performance. I didn’t feel like I had the mental strength to push myself during the difficult parts of the race. I think the volume of racing I had done through September had started to play a factor both physically and mentally.
However, absolutely delighted to find out that I was 3rd Swansea Harrier home and contributed to the team events. As a result, I won a Welsh Championship Team Silver Medal, and a British Championship Team Bronze Medal. I never imagined in my dreams that I would be receiving Welsh and British medals. A big thanks goes out to Dewi Griffiths and Phil Matthews, who’s fast times dragged my disappointing performance to the medals. I really wish I had known the significance of my position at the time, because I know I didn’t push as hard as I should have, and could have possibly been able to contribute to a Welsh Gold. Next time.